Book Buzz Episode 7 – Quietly Hostile & Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece

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Air date: July 23, 2023

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Quietly Hostile

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece

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HOST: Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the Assistant Director of Collection Services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's recommended reads are a collection of highly personal and hilarious stories, and a Hollywood novel by a real movie star.

First, let's LOL with Danielle, a library associate at the Mariner Library. Go ahead, Danielle.


Samantha Irby’s fourth collection of essays, “Quietly Hostile,” combines comedy and tragedy with ultimately hilarious results.

Irby covers issues such as chronic illness, depression, and familial trauma, yet I found myself laughing out loud even at the bleakest descriptions. Irby doesn’t make light of these issues, but she does normalize and poke fun at them with candid glimpses into hospital visits, reunions with estranged family members, and compulsive QVC shopping sprees.

I couldn’t stop laughing through a chapter describing a severe allergic reaction that results in anaphylactic shock. Upon arriving at the emergency room, fueled by a desire to not inconvenience anyone, she patiently waits in line to check in, only to be admitted immediately to the hospital. I identified with this ever-present guilt about taking up space. She knows it’s absurd and laughable, but I didn’t feel embarrassed that it resonated with me. Instead, I felt seen and understood.

I love Samantha Irby’s books for that reason – she exposes her vulnerabilities and brings to light what most of us would be too self-conscious to share, demonstrating that we’re not as uniquely dysfunctional as we might feel. She reminds us that life’s ups and downs are so ridiculous that you just have to laugh about it.

JESSICA: Thanks, Danielle. That ER scene resonates with me, too.

Next, we’ll hear from acquisitions assistant Kerry for an insider’s look at Hollywood. Take it away, Kerry.


Academy Award winning screenwriter William Goldman once said, about filmmaking in Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” But in Tom Hanks’ debut novel, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” Hanks shows us how some people do know lots of things--and sometimes they can link up perfectly--to create a multi-million-dollar, crowd-pleasing, critically acclaimed blockbuster.

Hanks builds this comic novel in sections, first, drawing readers in with the far-flung--and strangely linked--origin stories of the people, places and source material that combine to generate this movie’s magic.

The second half of the book, detailing the actual movie shoot, is a complex whirlwind of artistry and logistics. It’s hilarious, messy, fast-paced, and fascinating—it's incredible to realize this is how movies get made!

The urgency and momentum of the film production keep the pages turning, but it’s the fully fleshed out characters who keep the reader invested. Every member of the cast and crew of this movie gets a compelling backstory; you want to see the good guys win and the bad guys get what’s coming to them.

If you loved "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" by Michael Chabon, "The Dutch House" by Ann Patchett, or "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, this is a book for you!

HOST: Thanks, Kerry. I marvel that Tom Hanks is a beloved actor, and now an accomplished writer? Truly a man for all seasons.

Our recommendations this week are: “Quietly Hostile” by Samantha Irby and “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” by Tom Hanks.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

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